Building the perfect prepper retreat, homestead, or bug-out location involves taking a multitude of factors into consideration. The general attributes of the land and price of the property are the two first obvious concerns. As already noted in the eFoodsDirect “What You Should Know Before Buying A Prepper Retreat” report, when deciding where to call home, a little knowledge will go a long way; that knowledge might just save your life during a SHTF disaster.
Even if you are not actively searching for the perfect place to ride out the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), what you don’t know about where you currently reside could substantially decrease your chances of survival.
If society does break down due to either a man-made or natural disaster, how safe is your state? Although the basics of survival (food, clothing and shelter) remain the same despite the type of doomsday disaster, some communities and states are far better situated than others to ride out the storm and deflect the marauding hordes.
Do you know all there is to know about the inherent dangers specific to your state? If it took more than a few seconds to answer, it is past time to do some research.
Questions you should learn the answers to in order to increase your odds of survival
• How far away is the closest nuclear plant to your home? If the power grid fails, will you be subjected to radiation if the wind is not blowing in your favor?
• How many prisons or jails are within a 60-mile radius of your home? It is unlikely even the most dedicated corrections officers will forsake the safety of their family to babysit prisoners behind bars during a SHTF or world without rule of law (WROL) situation.
• What is the average rainfall for your region? If you are suddenly solely responsible for putting food on the table, it will be too late to pick up a copy of the Old Farmer’s Almanac to study precipitation and drought patterns.
Top 10 state and regional factors that could directly impact your survival
1. Population density is perhaps the most important factor to consider when pondering how safe your state and region will be during a disaster. The marauding hordes will not likely be stemming from low-population rural areas but from the cities and surrounding suburbs. How far away from even a medium-sized city is far enough? Our little slice of heaven on earth in the Hocking Hills is more than 60 miles from a major city and a 35-minute drive from a medium city, but I still wish we had more distance between us and even the semi-urban area. The closest city is home to two state correctional facilities — another substantial concern. I have zero doubt that during a SHTF scenario a multitude of my rural friends and neighbors will be standing on the county line hanging a “No Vacancy” sign off the end of their rifles, but will that be enough to keep out a herd of panicked people and inmates still adorned in their prison orange?
2. Flooding and rainfall vary widely by state, even within regions of any given state. Folks around here brace for flooding every early fall and spring. We know it is coming and are not surprised when a swift water rescue team is paged out to low-lying areas during this time of the year. Mother Nature is a fickle woman though, and this year during the early fall the creeks ran dry; we were all forced to haul copious amount of water to keep livestock alive. When the creeks dried up, so did many ponds, causing native wildlife to venture farther onto farms and ranches; this created fresh hazards. In search of food and water, the coyotes and wild boars that frequent the hills grew brazen from thirst and cost many good folks more than a few chickens, ducks and barn cats. Being fully aware of the traditional weather patterns (and recent weather weirdness) in your current state will help you prepare for both the expected and the unexpected. Neglecting to do so could cause all of your food and water sources to disappear quickly. The western United States is the least densely populated area in the nation (excluding Alaska) and is a favorite living spot for preppers. Unfortunately, getting the most elbow room possible comes at a price: a distinct lack of rainfall in most locations. Northern Idaho is one of the few spots between the shores of the West Coast and the Mississippi River that experiences plenty of rain — perhaps one of the reasons the region has become increasingly popular with preppers.
3. Drought is a major concern annually or seasonally for portions of the West; California has been struggling with a lack of water and intense usage restrictions for almost three years. The U.S. Drought Monitor map indicates that the current drought in the Golden State is the worst in its history. California is not the only state or region prone to drought conditions. Some states in the Southwest have also begun to somewhat resemble the Dust Bowl of the early 1930s. Growing crops and raising livestock will be difficult in such regions, but not necessarily impossible. The inexpensive price of real estate and seclusion the land offers is drawing some preppers to the desert region to begin an off-the-grid existence.
4. Snowfall averages should also be factored into any relocation or preparedness plan. Sure, many parts of the United States get a hefty dose of snow in the winter, but in recent years the cold white stuff has begun to arrive early and stay late in many states and regions. Growing crops year-round via an indoor greenhouse could become more difficult if the temperatures dip too low for an extended amount of time. The hills of Appalachia are often regarded high on the list of ideal places for homesteading and prepper retreats, but enhanced preps for longer winters must be taken into consideration to live in the region during a disaster. For one thing, you must factor in an increased use of wood to warm the home, boil water, and for cooking. You must also consider cold-weather transportation and added livestock feed costs if you’re making a home in the hills of Appalachia or similar regions in the United States.
5. Violent crime does not usually occur in rural areas, even though most residents own guns and many live in the same level of poverty similar to that of their urban peers. Even if your dream homestead or prepper retreat is located in a bucolic small town away from the city, make sure it is far enough away that the violent crime often associated with cities does not wind up on your doorstep just weeks after an economic collapse or other SHTF disaster.
6. Tax rates in rural areas are commonly far lower than the amount of money suburban and city dwellers are forced to pay to governmental entities. Choosing to live “out in the country” has a multitude of benefits to offer the five million or so prepping families in America, but states that do not levy an income tax at all are an even better choice.
7. Nuclear Power Plants exist in a grand total of 32 states. Even states that are not home to such a power plant are almost certainly located across the border from one. Nuclear waste disposal facilities are also located in a vast number of states as well. A strong storm after a nuclear event could cause winds to blow about 125 miles away from the plant and right into the homes of folks who mistakenly felt they lived too far away to be exposed to radiation from an accident or meltdown after a power grid failure. The Fukishima nuclear plant meltdown in Japan clearly illustrated the reach and negative impact the fallout from a nuclear disaster can have on not just a single nation, but the entire world.
8. Tornadoes can happen virtually anywhere, but they are prone to some regions more than others. Living in some regions of the spacious West could leave you vulnerable to a tornado. Concerns about tornadoes are not reason enough should not solely impact a prepper’s homesteading or relocating decision. But the potential of such a natural disaster should serve as reminder to ready the home for the likely possibility of a Wizard of Oz style weather system. Fully realizing what type of natural disaster can occur in your region helps you to not only safeguard against them, but also helps to garner a clearer grasp on what type of natural resources you would be able to rely on during a long-term power-grid-down scenario and therefore better plan for needed barter items.
9. Earthquakes are also prone to certain regions more than others, but that does not mean that a massive ground-shaking cannot occur in states where such occurrences are unheard of. As with tornadoes, stockpiling items in preparation for the mother of all earthquakes will help you sleep better at night, but don’t count on Mother Nature being predictable. Even if you live in an area where only a mild ground shaking has happened in the past 15 years, keep the possibility of an earthquake in the back of your mind when evaluating your preparedness plan.
10. Guns are of course essential to our survival during any type of disaster for both self-defense and hunting. Living in a state, or even a city, that fully respects and protects the Second Amendment rights enumerated by the Constitution could truly be a matter of life and death. If your region does not permit or strictly limits the ability to open carry or engage in the concealed carry of handguns, you could be left exposed and vulnerable during a disaster. If you assume that you can safely enter a store or office while leaving your pistol locked in your vehicle, you are wrong. Imagine the risk of being unarmed and at the mercy of a mass shooter — and that is a mounting risk these days. If you are at a movie theater or shopping mall when an earthquake, tornado, or flash food occurs, will you even be able to locate your car and get to it in order to retrieve your weapon and protect yourself and your family? That is a risk I am just never willing to take. If my gun can’t go somewhere, I do not go either.
States led by republicans traditionally have a better record of respecting the Second Amendment than areas where democrats are left in charge. The politics of a state or region could be a vitally important survival factor and is worth considering when planning a move or simply planning how you will vote come the next election.